The Bible is both like and unlike other books. Skills and techniques that work on any piece of literature yield results when applied to the study of the Bible. But the Bible is more. I believe it’s the “something more” that most of us are looking to unlock.
The average reader is informed by her reading of Scripture, but not transformed. She can tell you David’s occupation before he was king, but hasn’t a clue about how to connect that to her own life. Transformation begins with information, but it doesn’t end there. Much has been written about inductive methods and literature analysis. These approaches are helpful for gaining information from the Bible but if left alone, they lack something. The Bible is a spiritual book that invites us into a life changing relationship with the Author. As a living book, He uses it to shape and form our souls. My intention is to describe a Bible study method that is formative as well as informative.
Our attitudes and actions as we approach Scripture determine our results. May the suggestions that follow guide you into a more full meditation of Scripture. Think of them as organic living places on a map that you will visit with God rather than points on a stale, cold checklist.
1. Celebrate the uniqueness of the Bible as the triune God’s eternal, powerful word of promise spoken to us. Joy, humility and anticipation result.
2. Allow the passage to fill you physically, socially, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually. As a result you will taste the whole message of God as it transforms your whole being and all those around you.
3. Experience scripture in Community, and gain a wider view of truth than one person could ever hope to achieve alone.
4. Dig deep as your prospect for truth in the passage and you will find gold.
5. Look for God’s face; He reveals himself on every page. As you see Him your love will grow more than you ever thought possible.
6. Talk with God about the text, asking Him questions about the passage, but be prepared for Him to reply and ask you questions through the passage. As you commune with God through the pages of Scripture your relationship will deepen.
7. Think like a poet. Dwell on the literary devises and metaphors and you will craft creative ways of expressing His word to a hungry world.
8. Think like a historian, perceiving differences between the biblical world and your own. As a result, you will speak God’s Word to our time and culture.
9. Write out notes, pictures, and diagrams of your thoughts, questions, and conclusions. In so doing, you create an enduring record for yourself and others.
10. Discover the connections within the passage and how it ripples out to connect with other parts of the Bible. Then you will perceive the unity of the Bible’s message of promise
11. Link the passage to “real” life people, events, objects, and yourself. The result is a spirituality that permeates all of life.
12. Read the writings and research of other believers. Thus you join and contribute to the “Great Conversation.”